Swanica Ligtenberg

  • Status:
    Ceramics Artist & International Mother
  • Website:
  • Interests:
    Ceramics, Gallery, Traveling, Skypeing with her sons
  • Citie(s):
    Kamakura, Los Altos Hills

She was influenced by a long family tradition of goldsmiths, painters and musicians. While studying and working as a child psychologist, she applied art as a therapy. Admitted to “L’ecole des Arts Decoratifs” in Geneva, Switzerland, she became immersed fulltime in the art of drawing, throwing, forming, decorating and glazing ceramics. Her early works include a study of Mexican figurines as well as “Delft Blue” ceramic ware. She had her first show in Switzerland, and her first American show in New Jersey. She always has been teaching ceramics in her workshop and has been very active in ceramic organizations: vice president of the OVCeramicArtGuild and chairwoman of the Gallery House and many other positions. She has both a studio in California and in Kamakura. In 2009 she published her autobiographic booklet about her Horsehair Ware: “Ceramic Adventures in Japan” and this year she published her second booklet about her “Kamakura-Red” Ware: “Ceramics Adventures in Japan II”. She opened her “Swan Art Gallery” in Jan., 2010.

Swanica finds a connection with Mother Nature and meaning of life through the creation of ceramic art. When she moved to Japan in 2006, she won awards in Mashiko and Mino for the raku horsehair technique. With this technique one removes red hot pieces from the kiln and applies horsehair or other materials and fumes them. This results in exquisite warm earthenware colors, and expresses the elegance and harmony of nature through her abstract designs, the interplay between line and form, and surface treatment.

The Special Judges’ Award for her “Horsehair Vase” in the 6th Mashiko International Ceramics Competition 2006 in Japan.

Her “Cosmos” Horsehair Honorable Mention in the International Ceramics Mino, Japan.

She received the Judges’ Commendation Award for her “Circles of Life” Horsehair Plate in the 7th Mashiko International Ceramics Competition 2008 in Japan.

Swanica was stimulated to re-discover the functionality of her work by being in Japan. The form of the Kamakura-Red “Bamboo” teapot evolved from the
research done to redefine the shape and functionality of a cup. Her “Kamakura-Red Ware” is inspired by texture and red pigmented color of the
Kamakura Bori Wood Carving Art. The multi-layered red glaze symbolizes love, passion and strength. Living in Kamakura with its rich culture and its long heritage of wood carving allowed her to create a unique style. To the right is the Kamakura-Red “Angel” teapot inspired by the work of her goldsmith grandfather.

Her finished pieces stir the curiosity and imagination of the observer, and are completed by using and enjoying them and by the passing of time.